New House Document Is No Plan to Protect Millennials’ Health Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 17, 2017

Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

New House Document Threatens Millennials’ Health Care, Would End Medicaid As We Know It

[WASHINGTON]–On Thursday, House Republicans released a document that makes clear that they have no plan to protect Millennials’ health care and would trample on the progress young adults have made under the Affordable Care Act. YI’s Executive Director Jen Mishory released the following statement on the paper:

“Studies have shown that proposals similar to the House Republican release would strip young adults of their coverage and increase costs for young people currently eligible for premium tax credits. The House document, certainly not an actual plan, would also provide significant tax cuts to the rich while ending Medicaid as we know it — cutting coverage and benefits for the most vulnerable in our society, including pregnant women, people with disabilities, and low-income workers. It could also allow discrimination against up to 30 million young adults with a pre-existing condition. Under the Affordable Care Act, more than 8 million young adults have gained coverage. Under House Republicans’ framework, costs will rise, the number of uninsured will climb, and protections against insurers’ worst abuses will be stripped away. That’s bad for young people’s health.”

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5 Reasons #PriceIsWrong for Millennials’ Health

By Colin Seeberger

Price

Rep. Tom Price’s history as a member of Congress raises alarming flags about the policies he might champion as Secretary of Health & Human Services. He needs to answer for this record. Here’s a quick rundown of how a Secretary Price could significantly undermine Millennials’ health.

1. Price would significantly cut young people’s access to coverage.

In the last Congress, Rep. Price authored a bill called Empowering Patients, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act, or the essential means by which 8 million young adults have gained health care coverage, including 2.3 million young people who have been able to stay on a parent’s plan until they turn 26 (dependent coverage provision); 3.8 million through Medicaid expansion; and millions more through federal and state health insurance marketplaces. A new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds that repealing the Affordable Care Act would cause 18 million to lose their insurance and premiums to increase up to 25 percent next year. A Kaiser analysis of Rep. Price’s Empowering Patients legislation, his bill would would repeal the ACA’s dependent coverage provision and eliminate the ACA’s Medicaid expansion without a replacement to provide low-income enrollees coverage, much less coverage with comparable benefits.

2. Price doesn’t understand young women’s health needs.

Speaking at 2012 CPAC conference, when asked by a reporter about what women who have struggled to afford birth control should do if the ACA’s birth control mandate was undone, Rep. Price said: “Bring me one woman who’s [been unable to afford birth control]… There’s not one.” According to a 2010 Planned Parenthood Action Fund survey, 55 percent of women ages 18 to 34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control. It’s worth noting, Rep. Price has consistently voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

3. Price would give huge tax cuts to billionaires and cut financial help for low- and middle-income young adults.

Rep. Price’s health care bill would cut premium tax credits to low- and middle-income people and redirect that support, and in smaller levels, to individuals based on age. That means that young people, who have less work experience and thus typically lower wages, would see their access to financial assistance that helps them afford coverage slashed. Young adults are already earning $10,000 less than young adults a generation ago, so restructuring the financial help how Rep. Price suggests would only further stunt Millennial’s economic vitality. Furthermore, Rep. Price’s bill would provide 2.5 times more financial assistance to purchase coverage for middle-aged people, regardless of their wealth or health status, as it would to young workers making the minimum wage. In other words, Price would give a tax credit that is 2.5 times larger to the CEO of Goldman Sachs than he would to a recent college graduate working full-time at the GAP.

4. Price would push young people into policies that don’t meet their needs.

Price’s bill would eliminate the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits that currently ensure all Qualified Health Plans include maternity and mental health coverage. Prior to the ACA, just 12 percent of policies sold on the individual insurance market included maternity coverage as a benefit, despite the fact that the average, uncomplicated pregnancy could, on average, set a consumer paying out of pocket back $18,000. Additionally, mental health and trauma-related disorders are the top two conditions for which young adults receive health care, and 7.6 million young adults receive care for mental health conditions annually.

5. Price would expose 30 million young adults with pre-existing conditions to being denied or charged more for coverage.

Kaiser’s analysis also notes that Price’s bill would repeal the ACA’s prohibition on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Instead, people with pre-existing conditions could be guaranteed coverage only if they are already insured or if they withstand an 18 month waiting period. In other words, say that you are working at a job and have a one week lapse in employment and health coverage, under Rep. Price’s bill, insurance companies would be allowed to deny you coverage for up to 18 months due to the one week lapse in coverage.

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Thanks, Obamacare: 5 Ways the ACA is Working for Millennials

By Jessica Adair

Five years ago today, the president signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA and Obamacare, into law. 

Here are five ways the ACA has changed health insurance for “Young Invincibles”:

1) More people have gained access to health coverage. Before the ACA became law, many people were excluded from buying health insurance, either because they couldn’t afford it or were denied coverage due to their health. Since the Affordable Care Act passed, 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health coverage, resulting in a 30% drop in the uninsurance rate — one of the largest declines in decades.

Many people who have gotten covered hail from populations that have historically lacked health insurance coverage. The uninsured rate has dropped by over 9% among African Americans and over 12% among Latinos. Young adults, another group that had suffered from low rates of health coverage, have also seen a spike in coverage. An estimated 5.7 million young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 have gotten covered since the ACA was passed. Since Millennials end up in the emergency room more than any age group except for the elderly, this is a major win for our generation.

5.7million-graphic2) Young adults can now stay covered on a parent’s plan until they turn 26. Before the ACA, young adults were often kicked off of a parent’s plan when they turned 18 or 22 years old. Staying on a parent’s plan is a big help, especially to students, part-time workers and those struggling to find full-time work with benefits. Young adults are still digging out of the economic hole left by the Great Recession, and combating higher unemployment rates than those seen by other age groups. Even those who are employed may not have access to health insurance — a quarter of young adults are working part-time. Staying on a parent’s plan can provide consistent care and great financial relief.

3) We’re saving money on health care. Thanks to tax credits and other subsidies, health insurance is more affordable than ever before. During last year’s Open Enrollment period, 8 in 10 people who enrolled in coverage through Healthcare.gov paid $100 a month or less for a comprehensive health insurance plan. And all health insurance companies must now spend the majority of health insurance premiums on actual health care, saving consumers billions of dollars.  

More broadly, the ACA helped stem skyrocketing health care spending in the United States. Health insurance companies must compete for consumers on Healthcare.gov, forcing companies to cut prices — last year, premium costs for Marketplace plans fell an average of 0.2 percent. Even those with health coverage from a job have seen slower growth in the cost of their premiums and most now have a plan that limits out-of pocket expenses.

4) The ACA makes huge steps towards health care equality. Before the ACA, health insurance companies could, and did, discriminate against many populations, including women, people with health conditions and members of the LGBT community

Now, women cannot be charged more than men for health insurance based on gender (how about instead: insurance companies can discriminate based on gender), nor can health insurance companies deny coverage for people with health conditions, such as cancer, asthma or even pregnancy. 

The ACA has also made great strides for the LGBT community. Insurance plans offered through the Marketplace can no longer deny people or charge people a higher price based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and same-sex married couples can receive financial assistance equal to their heterosexual counterparts. 

5) The ACA helps America stay healthy. Most insurance plans offer a wide range of preventive services at no cost to consumers, such as vaccines and screenings for common health conditions. An estimated 76 million Americans are now eligible for these preventive services.

Studies show that young adults are taking advantage of their new coverage. Since the ACA was passed, health care providers have seen “significant increases” of young adults making appointments for routine check ups, blood pressure screenings and other services to make sure their health is in good shape. This, too, is not just good for health, but potentially for cost savings. As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
 
Next steps
While the ACA has been the greatest leap for boosting access to health care that we’ve seen in years, we still have much progress to make, particularly when it comes to young adults. Through the ACA, states have the option to expand access to Medicaid, free health coverage for low-income adults.

If all states expanded Medicaid eligibility, over 15 million adults would be able to access health care, over half of whom are under the age of 35. Here at Young Invincibles, we’re building a movement to expand health care access to low-income young adults. Click here to learn more about our work to close the coverage gap!

 

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Why Mobile Apps Are Key To Bridging Racial Disparities In Health Care Enrollment

By Spencer Dixon

On the heels of this Open Enrollment season, one in five young adults lack health insurance; a disproportionate number of whom were young African Americans and young Latinos.  Our generation ends up in the emergency room more than any other age group, except the elderly.  No one should forgo health insurance.

We sharpened our enrollment strategy this past year to connect with young Latinos and African Americans and we expect to see a great uptick in enrollment soon, largely because of how we’ve begun conversations with our generation: through mobile apps.

Millions of Millennials rely on the Internet to go about their daily life — from using email to communicate, a GPS to get around town, to smartphones to connect to the Internet and 83% of 18-29 year olds have a smartphone today. Many young adults, especially young African Americans and Latinos, primarily access the Internet through a smartphone.

Enter the Cognosante Connector app.

Modeled after Enroll America’s Connector tool, our new mobile app provides in-person assistance for our generation — in English and Spanish — to help our peers navigate low-cost health coverage options available today.

Anyone can enter his or her zip code and language and book free appointments with experts who can help them through the enrollment process. The free app can be downloaded on the Apple App Store, as well as the Google Play store.

Why, in the age of the Internet, do we emphasize in-person assistance? Research shows that those who received in-person assistance are twice as likely to enroll than those who tried to enroll by themselves. While using a website on one’s own to get coverage works for most people, the process can be confusing, especially for young adults who may be signing up for the first time.

The mode of delivery is just as important. Solely relying on an Internet-based system could exacerbate existing health care disparities. Many of the same people who lack Internet access also lack health coverage — Latinos are uninsured more than any other ethnic group in the United States and also have one of the lowest rates of Internet access at home.

Access to Internet through cell phones, however, is a much different story. Eighty-five percent of 18-29 year-olds use their cell phones to go online. Many populations with high rates of uninsurance, such as young adults, people of color and those who are low-income, rely on their phones, not computers, to access the Internet. While filling out a health insurance application and comparing plans on a phone is possible, it can be quite cumbersome. If a person does not have access to a computer, meeting with an in-person assister is that much more important.

Ultimately, the past two Open Enrollment periods have been grand experiments in creating the most accessible and technologically advanced system for health insurance enrollment. The system isn’t perfect yet, but by learning what works, we can use technology to meet the needs of our generation in ways we could have only dreamed of in the past.

And our primarily hope is that — through technology — we’re able to reach a wider net of Millennials who need health insurance to help them enroll.

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As More Millennials Get Covered, Grassroots Push Aims To Take Enrollment Numbers To New Heights

By Jessica Adair

On Saturday, 2,500 people gathered at a park in downtown Houston to enjoy the outdoors ahead of the salty, sweaty heat that creeps up from the Gulf of Mexico come spring – and to take advantage of a major opportunity that presented itself, alongside Zumba classes, food trucks and prizes: affordable health care.

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Young families attend gather at an outdoor concert and health care event in Houston.

You read that right. In the middle of this outdoor fiesta, young Houstonians learned about low-cost insurance. As a preview to National Youth Enrollment Day – the biggest day of enrollment activities this year, organized by dozens of community organizations for Millennials – health care advocates mobilized young Texans to show up and sign up.

This outside-of-the-box effort to help young people get covered is being emulated nationwide this week at approximately 200 events across the country – and we expect every event will pay off.

Already, the data shows grassroots efforts to date are yielding good results. Young adults are already enrolling at a higher rate than they were at this point in Open Enrollment last year; 26% of this year’s enrollees are between the ages of 18 and 34. That number is likely to rise. During last year’s Open Enrollment period, many young adults waited until the last minute to sign up for coverage.

Event attendees in Houston

Event attendees in Houston

For young people, who may be shopping for health insurance for the first time, the health insurance sign-up process can seem daunting and expensive. But, nearly 90% of enrollees are eligible for financial assistance when they sign up for coverage through the marketplace. This is good news – and something to celebrate.

So that’s what we’re doing this week – celebrating, and inviting fellow Millennials nationwide to join us for events featuring entertainment and enrollment help.

Whether it’s Zumba in Houston, a concert in Philadelphia, a poetry slam in Chicago or enrollment at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we’re meeting young people where they are in order to help them learn about health insurance.

Though young people did get covered in high numbers during last year’s Open Enrollment period, nearly 1 in 5 young adults still lack health insurance. In 2013, the year before the Health Insurance Marketplace opened up, 3 out of every 5 personal bankruptcies were due to medical debt.

For young people who haven’t had the opportunity to accrue years’ worth of savings, one accident could wipe out their entire bank account.

The National Youth Enrollment Day fun doesn’t stop on the ground. We’re hosting a variety of events online to get the word out about health insurance. For example, join Young Invincibles on Instagram for health care trivia on Thursday! Check out #YoEnroll on Instagram and Twitter to see live updates of events across the nation.

Ready to see what all the fun is about? Go to nationalyouthenrollmentday.org to find an event near you!

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Surgeon General, Young Invincibles & Enroll America To Discuss Millennial Enrollment Efforts Ahead Of National Youth Enrollment Day



Approximately 200 Events Across The Country Will Encourage Millennials To Sign Up For Health Care Coverage This Week

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR:
January 27, 2015

CONTACTS:
Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org585.746.8281;
Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org214.223.2913;
Justin Nisly, jnisly@enrollamerica.org202.601.2494

[WASHINGTON] – On Tuesday, January 27, 2015, the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, Young Invincibles, Enroll America and a young newly insured Millennial will host a conference call to discuss grassroots efforts to enroll Millennials nationwide around National Youth Enrollment Day, the biggest annual day of Millennial enrollment outreach across the country.

Please RSVP here to join us for tomorrow’s call.

Tuesday, January 27

WHAT: Conference call to discuss upcoming enrollment efforts tied to National Youth Enrollment Day

WHO: U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, Executive Director of Young Invincibles Jen Mishory, President of Enroll America Anne Filipic and a young person who recently benefited from a new low-cost plan.

TIME: 2:30 pm ET

RSVP: Please reply here to join us on tomorrow’s call!

Following the call, approximately 200 young adult-focused health care fairs will take place across the country, along with a coordinated social media effort to provide young people with the facts and tools they need to get covered this enrollment season.

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Four Things You May Have Missed In Last Week’s Big Health Care Enrollment Announcement

By Jessica Adair

Last week, HHS announced that 7.1 million consumers had enrolled in a plan through HealthCare.Gov or a state-based Health Insurance Marketplace. For those anxiously waiting to check the temperature on this year’s Open Enrollment period, the announcement was a big deal, especially considering that Open Enrollment does not end until February 15th and we expect there to be a significant uptick in sign-ups in the final stretch.

At Young Invincibles, we’ve looked beyond the latest numbers to spot any additional clues about the health of Open Enrollment. Here are four indicators you may have missed that suggest numbers are even higher than yet reported:

Big numbers are missing: The 7.1 million figure includes 6.5 million consumers who signed up for the first time or re-enrolled in a plan through the federally-facilitated marketplace. It also includes 633,000 additional consumers who enrolled in the 14 state-based marketplaces.

That data, however, excludes great swaths of the population that will receive coverage through their state marketplaces. Many states reported incomplete enrollment data. California and New York, for example, only reported the number of new enrollees, not the number of consumers who actively re-enrolled by choosing a new plan, or those who were automatically reenrolled in the plan they selected last year.

Given that almost 1.8 million consumers in just those two states selected a marketplace plan last year, we expect to see a jump in enrollment numbers when the rest of the state-based marketplaces release re-enrollment data.

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Image courtesy of the White House

Yes, young people are enrolling: To answer the perennial Open Enrollment question, HHS compared the portion of young enrollees to 2014 enrollment data. At this point last year, 29% of enrollees were under the age of 34. This year, that number has slightly increased. People under the age of 34 accounted for 33% of new enrollees or those who selected a new plan. That’s a good sign, considering that young people tend respond to deadlines (at least around the Young Invincibles office). Like last year, we expect the number of young enrollees to rise as we approach the end of Open Enrollment.

New people are showing up: Those who missed out on last year’s Open Enrollment have started enrolling. Of the 37 states that use the HealthCare.Gov platform, 52% of those who enrolled by December 15th were new consumers. That means that 1.8 million
people enrolled in the Marketplace for the first time. As outreach gets more aggressive towards the end of Open Enrollment, this number will likely rise.

Consumers shopped around: Many advocates were concerned that last year’s enrollees would not revisit the Marketplace to check out new plans offered this year and potentially find a better deal. While those who do not update their applications and look for a new plan will remain covered through automatic enrollment, they could miss out on the opportunity to find a cheaper plan.

We were pleasantly surprised to hear that 40% of those enrolled through the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace came back to HealthCare.Gov, updated their application and selected a new plan. Find out how to navigate your own health options at YoungInvincibles.org/ReadySetEnroll!

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YI’s Tom Allison: New Data: Millennials Are Better Off with Obamacare

Young Invincibles’ Policy & Research Manager Tom Allison writes for The Blog on Huffington Post about new census data indicating 3.9 million more 18- to 34 year-olds were insured in 2013 than in 2009 thanks to the Affordable Care Act:

“The Affordable Care Act’s supporters and detractors have consistently agreed on one thing: the success or failure of the law hinges on whether young adults, who tend to be healthier and less expensive to insure, enroll. New data released last week shows that more young people are getting health coverage, and in stunning numbers.” Read more here.

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Reaching Young Adults: Effective Tactics and Strategies to Engage and Enroll

Missed our webinar on enrollment best practices? Click to download our presentation: Reaching Young Adults: Effective Tactics and Strategies to Engage and Enroll!

Best Practices_Outreach and Enrollment

Click here to download a PDF version of the presentation.

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Obamacare’s special enrollment period could help youth signups

Washington Post 

By: Jason Millman

Obamacare open enrollment may finally be over, but the opportunities to sign up for coverage aren’t. Some people may qualify for special enrollment periods during the year, and a new analysis from a youth advocacy group shows these enrollment windows may benefit young adults the most.

The open enrollment period finally officially ended on Tuesday, after the Obama administration had provided people extra time to sign up if they said they previously experienced enrollment problems. In a few states and Washington, D.C., that enrollment deadline has been further extended until the end of April.

The health-care law allows for special enrollment periods between open enrollment for people within 60 days of experiencing a certain life event, such as having a baby, getting married, losing insurance coverage, moving to a different coverage area, getting released from jail and others. An analysis from Young Invincibles, a group supporting the Affordable Care Act, points out why young adults — a demographic crucial to the law’s success — could benefit more from the special enrollment window. Reasons include:

  • People ages 18 to 39 are twice as likely to be uninsured at some point during the year (34 percent) compared to those between 40-years-old and 64-years-old (17.9 percent), according to a 2009 Mathematica study.
  • 83 percent of new mothers are between 18 and 34 years old, according to the CDC.
  • An estimated 1.4 million marriages, mostly between young adults, will take place in the 7.5 months between April 1 and the Nov. 15 start of open enrollment.
  • Adults ages 20 to 29 moved at twice the national rate between 2011 and 2012.
  • About half of people leaving prison, based on 2012 data, are between 18 and 34.

The report outlines other special enrollment triggers, though not everyone will be eligible for the health insurance exchanges. For example, many of the young adults leaving prison, because of income, could qualify for Medicaid, which allows enrollment year-round.

A big question, though, is just how much awareness there will be of the special enrollment period. The major outreach effort focusing on young adults near the end of open enrollment in March has come to an end. We don’t have a final enrollment breakdown from HHS yet, but initial data from six states running their own insurance marketplaces showed just a modest bump in youth enrollment in March.

And while more people will become eligible for exchange coverage during thedow special enrollment win, some young adults already enrolled in exchanges will likely find coverage elsewhere during the same time. A report from California earlier this month found that about 20 percent of California exchange enrollees of all ages will likely get employer-sponsored coverage at some point this year, and another 20 percent would see their income drop to Medicaid eligibility levels.

Young Invincibles executive director Jen Mishory said her group is planning special enrollment outreach targeting college campuses and young mothers.

“We definitely don’t think the period to reach young people is over,” she said.

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